sub-panel or new panel

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  #1  
Old 12-18-03, 08:30 PM
wakky
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sub-panel or new panel

Just moved in to 25 yr old house in Virginia. No more circuits avail in short-ish panel. Current panel is Federal Pacific. Need 4-6 more circuits for sauna and home theatre room. Is it better to replace entire panel than to add-on to existing Federal Pacific panel? My understanding is that FP is out of business. Got one quote to replace entire panel for $1200. Wow! Is this high or the going rate?

Cheers,
Greg
 
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Old 12-18-03, 08:46 PM
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You'll need to do a demand load calculation first. If your current serivice is enough then a subpanel will probably be ok, otherwise you'll need a new main panel along with a service upgrade. Federal Pacific panels/breakers are not exactly very good....
 
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Old 12-18-03, 09:47 PM
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I dont think the 1200 sounds too bad, go to 200 40 space panel and be done,, I am all for repositioning the Federal to the dumpster.
 
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Old 12-19-03, 05:40 AM
wakky
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Current service is 200 amp so OK there. Sounds like I should just replace entire panel and be done with it. Ditch the FP and go with Cutler Hammer or Square D.
 
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Old 12-19-03, 03:55 PM
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A true load calc is very rarely needed, especially by the homeowner. A 200 amp service is more than adequate for your average home. Unless your home is 3000+ sq/ft and heated solely with electric you should be fine.

Is the $1200 for just the panel or the whole service. By me $1200-$1500 is a whole service. In another thread it was said services go for $2000+. I need to move to those areas.

Just being an FPE panel is more than enough reason to replace it.
 
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Old 12-20-03, 06:58 AM
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Panel replacement

I live in the Richmond area and paid $400 to have larger panel installed.No new wiring . Look in local area for electrician.Make sure he has license.
 
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Old 12-20-03, 07:04 AM
wakky
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I am in Northern VA. Got two quotes so far. The job is to remove existing FP panel along with all breakers and replace with cutler hammer panel that has 40 circuits on it. No new wire to be run and no drywall to cut. Just a straight replacement. All wires are easily accessible in unfinished basement. We do need to pull meter and get permit.

Quote 1: $1175
Quote 2: $1050

I was expecting $500-600 to do this. But what do I know?
 
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Old 12-20-03, 03:22 PM
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You will most likely need to replace the wiring between the meter and the new panel as the old one is probably too short. The new panel will probably cost around $100 (SqureD Homeline), plus the breakers (around $4 for a single pole, around $8 for a double pole). These are HD prices... if you do your own work.
3-0 Copper will cost about $1 a foot, and you need 3 of them.
In the Chicago area a panel + wire (between the meter box and the new panel) will cost about $800 for labor (some homeowners want to buy their own material, and only pay for the labor), or about $1100 for a labor + materials. This is for a SqureD Homeline panel. CH and Siemens panels will add almost $100 to the price due to the more expensive materials. The permit fee is only $40, and the homeowner can obtain that if they wish. 99.99% of the time the city inspector will not come. ComEd will generally come and inspect only the outside wiring (if the job involved replacing the meter panel and wiring), otherwise they will just come (months later sometimes) to reseal the meter box. Perhaps they come sooner in "poorer areas".

The job is really not as simple usually, especially if the wiring is EMT and armored. Most of the time the existing wire is too short and you'll end up with a nice collection of wirenuts. NM-B cable is easier as it's usually long enough.
 
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